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By Alan Brostoff
What does a drummer do when they have down time? They set up their own YouTube channel and start showing everyone how to play the drum parts of favorite songs. Adam Gomez, the drummer for The Dickies, sat down with Goldmine to talk about his new channel, his love for punk, what initally got him into drumming and his love of old-school horror movies.
GOLDMINE: What lead to the decision for you to start your own YouTube channel, Drum-Thru Drive-In?
ADAM GOMEZ: I love horror movies. I’m a sucker for them and I understand that most of them are stupid, and the acting is terrible, but that is part of what I like about it. All of my childhood memories of watching movies revolves around horror movies. I was just having a conversation yesterday about the Lost Boys movie. So, the name for it came from that. If it was going to be mine, I wanted it to tie into movies. I have been doing stuff for The Dickies for a while now and it’s all about “you play that beat at this time, and that’s how the song goes. You did not write it, but that how it gets played.” When I started the YouTube channel, I had the freedom to play the way I want to and to show who I am as a player and a person who loves really bad horror movies.
Goldmine: How are you selecting the songs you are going to play on Drum-Thru Drive-In?
Adam: For the most part, I’m choosing songs that have an importance to me. I try to stay in the focus of punk rock and metal, maybe a little hard rock or some funk. I do a Megadeth song and the album that song is on made me decide that I wanted to play drums. I wear a bow tie and play in a punk band, but it was that Megadeth album that got me into wanted to play the drums.
Goldmine: So, it was all because of Megadeth?
Adam: I have a musical family. Everyone sings and plays guitar. I can kind of do that, I’m not the best singer and I did play guitar for a while. It just made sense to me to not do what everyone else in my family was doing. My oldest brother had a VHS tape of Megadeth videos with all the videos up to Rust in Peace. Watching those videos and seeing Nick Menza play. I just thought, “That’s what I’m going to do.” It was not so much him as it was the sound of that album.
Goldmine: Can you share with me how you became the youngest member and drummer for The Dickies?
Adam: I’m not the youngest anymore. I actually brought in the youngest member to the band recently, so I don’t feel so young anymore. I used to play in a L.A. punk rock band and they knew Eddie Tatar, who plays with D.I. I think he has been with them for 20 years, and one day they needed a drummer for a show that was already booked. They called my band and said they needed me for a day. I did the fill-in gig for them and one year later, out of the blue, I got a call from Eddie. He asks if I have a passport and if I could tour. I told him 'yes' to both and he told me, "Great. I’m getting you an audition for The Dickies." All I could say was “What? Wait, What’s going on now?” I had to audition, and Eddie really wanted me to get the gig, so he made me work harder than everybody else. There were other established punk rock drummers who wanted that job and I was just some kid ...who the f**k am I. He told me that everyone was learning 2-3 songs and that I should learn more. I learned so many things, and then he and I got together and practiced where we just played drums and bass and went through the songs. He had me learn them a certain way, so that when I came in and auditioned, Leonard [Graves Phillips, singer] and Stan [Lee, guitarist] were already comfortable with hearing and feeling those songs. He had me learn how the songs were being played now, not they way they were played on the first record.
Goldmine: Going back to your channel, are you recoding them only at home or are you doing some on the road?
Adam: Actually, the thing I do is film in bulk. I come up with a plan of what I want to record and then when I have a chance, usually when my wife and daughter are out of town, I will try to record. This allows me to release them when I want. The one I released yesterday was actually recorded a few months ago.
Goldmine: You have talked about Punk Rock Saves Lives and mental health issues on your channel. Why is this something you want to call attention to?
Adam: Being in the punk rock community I hear a bunch of stories. I have had the chance to really get to know the punk rock veterans and they have some stories to tell sometimes. Where I am in this scene, it seems that drugs plagued the f**k out of punk in the past. Most of the guys I talk to know are sober and they have a lot of stories. I have experienced mental disability around me also. I have talked about this on other podcasts. Where there is something about being into music and being an artist. And most people can live a normal life within societies norms, but at the same time there is always so much going on in your head if you are an artist. Either you are always trying to see the world different, or you already do and you want to make sure that you don’t lose touch. You have to try and stay sane and not get lost. I met Rob, one of the head guys from Punk Rock Saves Lives, and I had just spoken to him recently, so it was fresh in my mind. It’s getting close to Christmas time, and I know for a lot of people it is worse around the holidays. While this type of Christmas depression has never happened to me, it’s important to me to make sure others know that there is always a place for them to turn.
Goldmine: Your attire as a drummer is unique. Where did your style come from?
Adam: There is a story behind that. The first official show I played with The Dickies was House of Blues, Anaheim. On that same day my sister was getting married. I had to be at the House of Blues at a certain time and I caught the ceremony, and my wife, who at that time we were just dating, I told her we would go to the wedding and a little of the reception and then we had to get to the venue. I still had on what I was wearing to the wedding. I did have a change of clothes in my backpack because in my mind I was thinking “You’re the new member, You don’t want to be all flashy and try to stand out.” I wanted to wear something dark and not stand out. When we got to the gig, I was walking backstage, and Stan [Lee] sees me and looks me up and down and says “Are you wearing that?” I told him no; I have a change of clothes. He told me not to change and to wear that. I thought, "Ok, we can do that for a show" and it turned into a thing. What I like the most about it, is when I walk up to The Dickies gigs, people see me dressed so nice and no one knows who I am. The punkers give me the stink eye looking me up and down and thinking “You’re at the wrong f**king gig” and then 10 minutes later I’m up on stage and those same punks are now thinking “He’s fine.”
Goldmine: Is the band working on any new Dickies music?
Adam: Yes. From what Leonard [Graves Phillips] has said, we are finishing up our last Dickies record. We are ¾ of the way done. I think we need four more songs, at tops. Of those four, two of them are actually written. The plan is to have it done by next summer. The plan is to tour Europe in the summer with the record done and with us. Cleopatra is putting out the record and they seem to be doing a good job on getting records out even with the long waits other labels have had to deal with.
Goldmine: Final question: I understand you did some work on the soundtrack for the Killer Klowns upcoming video game?
Adam: It was a slightly high-strung experience, which is a great thing. Composer John Massari and I were texting back and forth, coordinating how and when we were going to get the drums tracked before his deadline. He emailed me all the lead sheets (sheet music) and I would do a lot of listening at the end of the night, after work and after the dad/husband responsibilities. He had sent me a track that was actually only on piano and a click track. So, I just threw on the thinking cap and composed drums cadences and beats/patterns to that. It was a pretty rad experience. I don’t have much insight to the game Hopefully I’ll actually have a shot at playing it. It looks super fun.
You can check out Adam at www.youtube.com/@drumThruDriveIn
The Dickies Selected Discography
[All album values based on Near Mint condition]
❑ SP-4796 Dawn of the Dickies 1979 $18
❑ SP-4742 The Incredible Shrinking Dickies 1979 $25
— First pressing on yellow vinyl
❑ SP-4742 The Incredible Shrinking Dickies 1979 $18
❑ D1-73322 [EP] Killer Klowns (From Outer Space) 1988 $10
❑ D1-73289 Second Coming 1989 $10
❑ 6903 Stukas Over Disneyland 1983 $15
❑ 56 Locked and Loaded 1991 $25
❑ 51168 Idjit Savant 1994 $18
❑ CLO2828 Stukas Over Disneyland 2022 $31
— Reissue, yellow and red vinyl variants [shown below, order HERE]